By Yelena Gerovich New American Acculturation Program Coordinator
Did you know that water skiing was invented 100 years ago by a man named Ralph Samuelson who had a logical, yet out-of-the-box, thought. If you could ski on snow, thought the Minnesota man, then certainly you could ski on water. That common sense notion led to Ralph’s first attempt to water ski one day in June 1922 on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota, towed by his brother Ben. Of course, as is the way of so many first attempts, this one was unsuccessful. But the brothers were undeterred. After experimenting for several days, Ralph had an ‘ah-ha’ moment: The key to water skiing, he concluded, wasnsimply to lean back, ski tips up. So, on July 2, 1922—just just one day shy of his 19th birthday—Ralph Samuelson grabbed his hand-built skis and went water skiing. Thus began a sport that is today enjoyed by people the world over. A sport powered by a dream and the determination to see it through. The Jews of the former Soviet Union had a dream, too. A powerful dream. Their dream was to escape from the clutches of the tyrannical Russian government, and to live free and independent lives in free and independent country. For many, their determination paid off and their dream came true. Today, in the US, Jews from the former Soviet Union are free — and one of the things they freely do is celebrate the holiday, both Jewish and American. We are here to help them do just that. For example: On May 23, the Russian-speaking community—including some 300 people from around the world who joined virtually—enjoyed a concert celebrating the May holidays of Lag BaOmer, Mother’s Day, Victory Day and Memorial Day. (Victory Day honors the 500,000+ Soviet Jews who fought against Nazi Germany, including over 200,000 who lost their lives.) The celebration was recorded and placed on YouTube for those unable to join the live broadcast. He great success of our spring programs to our extrairdinary team of dedicated volunteers and performers, including: Natalya Grinbaim-Smyrnos, Michael Shekman, Natalia Kiseleva, Evgeniy Iokhvid, and Marina Milgram, our bilingual IT manager who helped coordinate our virtual programs. The New American Acculturation Program helps members of our community learn American and Jewish history and traditions.
For more information, including program sponsorships, contact Yelena Gerovich at 203 387-2424 x321, or ygerovich@ jewishnewhaven.org